Abacus Wealth Partners is upping its social justice and sustainable investing game by merging with San Francisco-based Robasciotti & Philipson.
Even though Robasciotti & Philipson, with $130 million under management, pales in comparison to Santa Monica, California-based Abacus’ $3.8 billion, the intangibles of the smaller RIA qualify the deal as a merger, according to Brent Kessel, Abacus co-founder and CEO.
While Abacus is already a “values-aligned” advisory firm, Kessel said the RIA’s co-founders Rachel Robasciotti and Maya Philipson bring special expertise and relationships across the spectrum of social, minority and gender justice issues.
“They work with a lot of nonprofits that work with minorities and women, and social justice, which is part of the broader impact investing universe where we have very little experience,” Kessel said. “And on the client side, they have relationships with a lot of folks that are different from the typical client. The kind of people who don’t just want to grow wealth, they want to maximize the impact they’re having. That takes a different kind of financial planning perspective.”
Through the merger, Robasciotti and Philipson will serve on the Abacus team as Director of Advocacy Engagement and Strategic Advisor, respectively.
They are now Abacus employees, but Kessel said they will not be working with clients and will be spending time managing their fund, the $43 million Adasina Social Justice All Cap Global ETF (JSTC).
“At its very core, Abacus is a team of individuals who are deeply aligned with our values and this influence is apparent throughout their entire approach to investment management and financial planning,” said Philipson. “This transition feels so natural to us and will be for our clients as well. We are thrilled to start this new chapter with Abacus.”
While Abacus has completed a half-dozen acquisitions, Kessel described this one as a “significant moment in our company’s history.”
He described Robasciotti and Philipson as “punching way above their weight class” in terms of impact investing and social justice issues.
“This is a strategic merger for us,” he said. “We’re incredibly fortunate that Rachel and Maya will continue to work with Abacus to help evolve our practice to better serve people from racially- and gender-diverse communities.”